Martin Looks Toward Martinsville

Martin back to face Martinsville challenge MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 14, 1998) Coming off his second NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory of the season, in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Mark Martin is ready to face the challenges of ...

Martin back to face Martinsville challenge

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 14, 1998) Coming off his second NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory of the season, in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Mark Martin is ready to face the challenges of Martinsville Speedway this weekend in the Goody's Headache Powder 500.

The driver of the No. 6 Valvoline Ford, however, is the first to admit that Martinsville is one of his least favorite race tracks on the circuit. That despite a third-place finish in last year's Spring event on the .526-mile paved oval.

The 1997 Goody's 500 was a struggle from the start. Martin and the team couldn't find the right combination during Bud Pole Qualifying, and ended up taking a provisional starting position and a pit on the backstretch.

The crew changed the shocks and springs Sunday morning before the race and found the right combination. Martin moved up to 10th place by the halfway point, and a two-tire pit stop on lap 398 of the 500-lap event helped give him a top-five finish.

"I would have never believed we could finish third last year," Martin said. "I probably could have finished even better, but by the time I worked my way up that far, my brakes were about shot. That was the race when I told the team I would run naked through the grandstands if I won, and some of the guys still believe I didn't win because of that. Of course, I never said when I would do it. If I would have won, I would have done it just as long as nobody was around."

Martin made a huge gain in points after his win in at Texas, moving up from seventh to fourth. He has closed the gap to 57 points behind leader Rusty Wallace.

"We are taking a new Taurus to Martinsville," Martin said. "It should be a good car since our other short track car (Bristol) was pretty good. In the past, I usually hoped to leave Martinsville with a top-10 finish. Now, I hope to leave Martinsville leading the point standings.

"Rusty is really tough there, but our team is on a roll. We've had five top-10 finishes in seven races this year. We're not slowing down now."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Mark Martin